In 2013, the Colorado State University’s #TeamSocial approached us about launching a board on CSU’s Pinterest. Today, the College of Health and Human Sciences consistently ranks in the top five among CSU’s 50 boards. Here’s how we did it:
1. Find your experts
The College of Health and Human Sciences at CSU is uniquely suited to Pinterest. We have experts in the areas of nutrition, fitness, design, and relationships because of the disciplines in our college: Food Science and Human Nutrition, Health and Exercise Science, Human Development and Family Studies, and Design and Merchandising – all inspirational and popular content areas on Pinterest. If Pinterest represents who we all strive to be, our college can help. Eat healthier, get fit, improve your relationships, look like a million bucks!
Even better, our college has a strong outreach and engagement mission, so most of the departments have a public health and education component – they WANT to distribute information to the public – a match made in heaven. The Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center, the Adult Fitness Program, and the Center for Family and Couple Therapy provide monthly tip sheets for us. They can help fulfill their public health mission, while also marketing their programs. Examples: Breaking the hydration myth, Joys and challenges of parenting teens.
2. Leverage existing content
The Kendall Anderson Nutrition Center already produces a monthly newsletter chock full of recipes and tips. It’s excellent content. But a PDF posted to a website doesn’t make for a good pin. We break up the newsletter into different website postings. This newsletter became these pins: Summer sun and antioxidant fun!, Red, white, and blue popsicles, and Broccoli salad. From the website postings, we always link back to the original source of the information and to our Pinterest page.
We also repurpose content from the Live, Eat, Play Colorado website content and tip sheets, which are generated from the Food Science and Human Nutrition Extension team: Ten ways to stay active and beat the summer heat.
Our Design and Merchandising students provide us with fashion and beauty content during the year through a website called The Fashion Report, such as Super Fun Summer Accessories.
3. Choose a good stock image
In the end, Pinterest is all about images. When we don’t have the time to take our own photos, we select stock images. Search the web for the best stock photo websites for deals to fit the number of images you need. You should be able to find something in the $1-$2 range per image. After finding a good image, we use picmonkey.com, a free online photo editing website, to add some text and design elements to make the images suitable for pinning. Pinterest users often “pin now, read later,” so try to add text to the image that will remind them what the article is about when they’re scrolling through their boards later.
Check out the Pinterest tips in this infographic with keys to creating perfect social media posts. Choose vertical images when possible. Try filters for less color saturation. And images with no human faces get shared 23 percent more often than those with human faces.
4. Select timely, expert content to repin
Including our original content, we provide 6-10 repins each week for our board. When selecting other organization’s content to pin, we look for a strong health component, usually supported by research or experts in the field. We also strive to repin the most current postings. Lastly, we try and post timely seasonal and holiday content to engage our audience. For example, around the Super Bowl, we posted smart snacking tips. Health and fitness magazines, popsugar.com, and Huffington Post typically have great health content and images for our board.
The key is to find sites that fit YOUR content buckets. Do you typically share articles from a specific publication on Twitter? Maybe that content is suitable for Pinterest too.
5. Measure it
CSU’s Pinterest administrator sends us monthly analytics with clicks, likes, repins, and board ranking. We use the most repinned, best in search, and power pins to inform future content. For example, our Tips for preparing, cooking and eating healthy meals for one or two consistently ranks on CSU’s most repinned list. As of August 4, it’s been repinned 494 times!
Figuring out what content gets repinned can help you decide on the topic of your pins, the images you use, and how to caption the pins (key words in captions help your content appear higher in searches).
Gretchen Gerding, Director of Communications, College of Health and Human Sciences, with Shannon Dale and Marissa Isgreen